Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Alligator rips off woman's arm in Florida canal

The petite elderly woman flailed desperately in the canal behind her mobile home south of Leesburg.

A neighbor drinking his morning coffee and looking out his kitchen window Wednesday couldn't believe what he was seeing. He quickly dialed 911, then jumped into the 4-foot-deep water to help the woman in distress.

Carol Hough, 84, had only one word to explain what had happened to her: "Gator." Her neighbor, Delmas Zickefoose, was shocked when he realized her arm was gone below the shoulder.

"I held her," the 68-year-old Zickefoose said. "I just held her, telling her everything would be all right, that rescue was on the way."

About nine hours later, state wildlife officials trapped and killed the alligator suspected of biting off Hough's right arm. The 7-foot-5 male gator had taken bait near the canal where the attack occurred, said Lt. Joy Hill, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"The alligator was not at all afraid of humans," Hill said. "It didn't move when we were standing near it."

A necropsy found no human body parts inside the alligator's stomach, but Hill said wildlife officials believe it was the gator that bit Hough, based on reports of its size, though "it is impossible to say with 100 percent certainty."

Hough remained in critical condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

No one knows why Hough was in the water or how long she had been in there before Zickefoose saw her. But several large alligators regularly swim near their homes at Cypress Creek Mobile Home Park.

Other neighbors said Hough had a history of being disoriented. She had moved to Florida from Maine after her husband died. She asked for her late husband, Bob, after Zickefoose found her in the water at daybreak, about 7 a.m.

It's not known what prompted the attack. Several alligator attacks have occurred when people were with their pets, but Hough doesn't have a pet.

Still, alligator attacks are less common than dog bites or lightning strikes, Hill said.

From 2007 to 2011, 34 people were injured and one person was killed in alligator attacks, wildlife officials said. Since 1948, there have been 337 unprovoked gator attacks on humans, including 22 fatalities, according to state records.

Comments
Rangers extend winning streak to 4, beat Royals 4-1

Rangers extend winning streak to 4, beat Royals 4-1

Cole Hamels allowed four hits over seven innings, Delino DeShields doubled home two runs as the Texas Rangers defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-1 Tuesday night to extend their winning streak to a season-high four games
Updated: 1 hour ago
Fixing a massive NYC plumbing leak, 55 stories underground

Fixing a massive NYC plumbing leak, 55 stories underground

Big fix: New York City spending $1 billion to carve bypass around gushing leaks massive water tunnel
Updated: 1 hour ago
Business up at New Jersey track, casino with sports bets

Business up at New Jersey track, casino with sports bets

Although revenue figures won't be released for a few weeks yet, Monmouth Park racetrack and Atlantic City's Borgata casino say they're delighted with the extra business sports betting has generated in its first few days
Updated: 1 hour ago
Business up at New Jersey track, casino with sports bets

Business up at New Jersey track, casino with sports bets

Although revenue figures won't be released for a few weeks yet, Monmouth Park racetrack and Atlantic City's Borgata casino say they're delighted with the extra business sports betting has generated in its first few days
Updated: 1 hour ago
Convicted Republican businessman's company targets Democrats

Convicted Republican businessman's company targets Democrats

An Ohio telemarketing company whose Republican owner was convicted in a campaign finance probe has organized employees and suppliers in a retaliatory effort to bring down two prominent Democrats
Updated: 1 hour ago
Opening statements in ex-New York Senate leader's retrial

Opening statements in ex-New York Senate leader's retrial

Opening statements are set to begin on Wednesday in the retrial of ex-New York Senate leader Dean Skelos and his son on corruption charges
Updated: 1 hour ago
Atlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino (ex-Revel) seeks license

Atlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino (ex-Revel) seeks license

Eight days before it plans to open, Atlantic City's Ocean Resort Casino will go before state gambling regulators to seek a casino license
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 12:04 a.m. EDT

AP Top News at 12:04 a.m. EDT
Updated: 1 hour ago
Many in Puerto Rico still under tarps as storm threat looms

Many in Puerto Rico still under tarps as storm threat looms

Thousands of people across Puerto Rico are still living in damaged homes, protected by blue plastic tarps, nine months since Hurricane Maria devastated the island
Updated: 1 hour ago